Startup developing herpes, malaria vaccines raises $30M from Gates Foundation, others

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Company name: Genocea Biosciences Inc.

Industry: Biotechnology.

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Solution/product: The biotech startup has a proprietary technology to identify and use T-cell antigens to target large pathogens like HSV-2, pneumococcus, chlamydia and malaria.

Money raised: $30 million.

How it will be used: The funds will support two programs, one for a clinical stage vaccine candidate that aims to reduce the severity and frequency of clinical outbreaks associated with moderate-to-severe herpes simplex virus type 2; and the other a preclinical vaccine to prevent infections tied to streptococcus pneumoniae.

Investors: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CVF, LLC, an affiliate of Henry Crown and Company invested in this round. Additional investors are all of Genocea’s existing investors — Polaris Venture Partners, Lux Capital, SR One, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Skyline Ventures, Cycad Group, Auriga Partners, MP Healthcare Ventures and Morningside.

Management team: Chip Clark, president and CEO; Seth Hetherington, chief medical officer; Robert E. Farrell Jr., vice president of finance and administration; Jessica Baker Flechtner, vice president of research; Paul Giannasca,vice president of development, Ravi Venkataramani, vice president of business development.

Market: HSV-2 triggers genital herpes. In the U.S. alone, 40 million to 60 million people are infected with HSV-2, according to the World Health Organization. Annually, there are 1 million  to 2 million new infections and 600,000 to 800,000 clinical cases.

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Arundhati Parmar

By Arundhati Parmar

Arundhati Parmar is the Medical Devices Reporter at MedCity News. She has covered medical technology since 2008 and specialized in business journalism since 2001. Parmar has three degrees from three continents - a Bachelor of Arts in English from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India; a Masters in English Literature from the University of Sydney, Australia and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago. She has sworn never to enter a classroom again.
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